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I McIntosh (United Kingdom)
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Life: A User's Manual
Life: A User's Manual
by Georges Perec
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in futility, 22 April 2012
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This review is from: Life: A User's Manual (Paperback)
Sadly did nothing for me. I'm sure writing within the bizarre constraints the author has imposed on himself is technically admirable and he has clearly spent enormous effort in imagining in microscopic detail multiple aspects of the many lives described but, for the most part, it was like reading a book of sudoku or an index. There are minute detailed descriptions of apparently every item in every room, there are interminable lists.

To be fair, there are occasional quaint and entertaining diversions into the back stories of some of the characters which engage temporarily from the tedium; like finding a few loose leafed short stories interspersed in a dry encyclopaedia.

Most of the characters seem to fail in their plans. The supreme irony for me is that the author convinced me to waste my life away reading it, not unlike Bartlebooth's time-wasting master plan of futility.

User tip: Live your life: don't read this...


Boyle: Between God and Science
Boyle: Between God and Science
by Michael Hunter
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worthy, 15 Jan 2011
This thoroughly researched account of Boyle is unfortunately a pretty tough read. A significant amount of time is spent laying out the precise set of publications he produced with less on the man himself or on putting his experimental findings and theories in more of a scientific context: what did he discover that was new and why was it important.

In part, I suspect this is because it is only the publications which survive. As Michael Hunter decsibes in the last chapter, many of the more quotidien letters and documents which would have rounded out our picture of Boyle have been lost. That said, this book added hugely to my understanding of an important and complex figure I had known only from 'Boyle's Law',


The Idea of Justice
The Idea of Justice
by Amartya Sen
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 11 Nov 2009
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This review is from: The Idea of Justice (Hardcover)
Having greatly enjoyed Mr Sen's lectures at university 25 years ago, I was disappointed by this. Maybe it's because I now consider myself a 'lay' reader out of practice with the extreme theoretical tone of many philosphical papers.

It would assist his view, with which I concur, that just outcomes are more likley after wide public scrutiny of ideas, if the book was more publicly accessible. He spends too long countering a wide variety of other philosophers' ideas, rather than in seeking to illustrate how the application of his own theories would lead to different actual practical recommendations.

He is rightly critical of approaches that rely on a perfect 'transcendental' idea of just institutions and says we need to focus on actual outcomes. To me the book is at its best when he uses real examples of dilemnas. How much more powerful would it be to set out examples of many more real ethical dilemnas and suggest how the recommendations he believes would emerge from his approaches would differ from competing theories of justice.

Overall, it comes across as a long theoretical discussion of topics related to justice rather than a coherent theory in its own right.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2010 4:38 PM GMT


Masquerade Party Game
Masquerade Party Game

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun communication skills, 11 April 2009
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Masquerade Party Game (Toy)
We've played this for years. Has the flexibility to work as a brilliant fun game in very different groups: from 16 '20-somethings' playing most nights in a ski chalet to a family game with full participation for kids from 8 upwards.

Great way of getting kids to communicate in a way schools don't normally teach.

At it's heart it's basically charades without the constraint of film/book/play and with 3 difficulty levels it gives everyone an easy entry point. We generally play as 2 teams; boys/girls, family splits, etc, which also means it's less daunting for first time players.


Everything's an Offer
Everything's an Offer
by Robert Poynton (author)
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Accepted with thanks, 24 Jan 2009
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Hard to categorise this book, which I suspect would please the improvising author. As the title suggests you can take what it offers in many ways: part philosphy of how to approach life: e.g. be open, observe and use what's around you, celebrate the unexpected, part business guide, part snippets of autobiography, part guide to improvisational techniques, part self-help guide.

Very readable with mix of improvisational theory illustrated by Gary Hirsh's fun diagrams & doodles and engaging anecdotes from personal experience that brings it to life.

As one of life's planners who can agonise about how to deal with events that never occur, I found this a welcome challenge, not to 'wing-it' but rather absorb and use the energy of '**** happens' in a positive way.

Quirky size and lovely little details (e.g. told in the microprint at the start that the book is printed in the bagel capital of the world) round off an intriguing package.


Causing Death and Saving Lives: The Moral Problems of Abortion, Infanticide, Suicide, Euthanasia, Capital Punishment, War and Other Life-or-death Choices
Causing Death and Saving Lives: The Moral Problems of Abortion, Infanticide, Suicide, Euthanasia, Capital Punishment, War and Other Life-or-death Choices
by Jonathan Glover
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply written but not simplistic, 30 April 2007
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I read this while at high school, and it was one factor that encouraged me to apply to the author's college, where I was fortunate enough to be taught moral philosophy by a wonderful man.

Very accessible entry point to complex ethical issues.


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